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H-1B Visa Alternatives

This year 233,000 applicants competed for the 65,000 H-1B visas available. This means over 150,000 applicants were not considered and denied the opportunity to apply. The unlucky applicants can wait and try again next year, but in the meantime there are other options available.This video gives a breakdown of the 6 alternative visas.

In addition to the options discussed in the video, below are some of the options explained further.

F-1 Student Visa

Students going to school in the US can apply for a F-1 visa. The F-1 visa allows the student to stay in the US as long as the student is enrolled in an accredited school and are active in a program that will result in a degree.

H-3 Visa for Trainee

Trainees are those who come to the US for training in any field, other than graduate medical education. The training program must be described in detail and approved by the USCIS.

O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Individuals

The O-1 Visa is available for any individual who can demonstrate a superior ability in science, art, education, business, athletics or the motion picture/television industry. Extraordinary ability means the applicant is at the top of the field, which is generally a very small percentage of people. Distinction or a high level of achievement shown through recognition that is not normally given to the typical person in the field may need to be demonstrated.

E-Visa for Trade Treaties

The E-Visa is available for those who come to the US under specific treaties that dictate trade between the US and certain foreign countries. Only nationals of countries that hold trade treaties with the US are eligible. Under the E-Visa category there is also the E-3 Visa which is reserved for speciality workers from Australia.

J-1 Visa for Study Based Exchange

J-1 visas are available for work and study based exchange visitor programs. Applying for a J-1 visa can be a complicated process however and some J-1 visas demand specific requirements, such as a two-year residence in the applicant’s home country. If the applicant is unable to do so, a waiver may be possible in some circumstances. The waiver must be applied for separately.

While the H-1B is an attractive visa, with limited numbers available it is worthwhile to consider alternative visa options. Instead of waiting another year to try again in the lottery it is beneficial to speak to an attorney about other options. Many visas are complicated and have many requirements. Speaking to a professional will ease the process and will assist in finding a visa that is the right fit.

Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal to discuss alternative visa options. Attorney Khandelwal is an experienced immigration attorney located in the Silicon Valley and has worked in the field for over 10 years.

Cited Sources:

Students and Employment, July 29, 2013, USCIS

H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor, September 9, 2014, USCIS

O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, March 6, 2011, USCIS

E-Visas, April 23, 2011, USCIS

Tags: #h1-b, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer

Tax Implications for Immigrants

Tax consequences on one’s income are bound to arise regardless of the way a person has immigrated to the US- – through investment, employment, or family relationships. This article will explore some of the common tax issues faced by noncitizens , whether here temporarily or permanently

Taxes from Employment

As a threshold matter, only those with employment authorization from the Department of Homeland Security can work legally in the United States. Legal permanent residents (green card holders) are free to work for any employer, or even for multiple employers, either full time or part time. However, foreign nationals on nonimmigrant visas (J-1, H1-B, etc.) have to f first obtaining employment authorization and must ensure that they work within the limits of their nonimmigrant visas.

IRS vs. DHS

The IRS has its own classification system for tax purposes. Although the immigration system makes the distinction between immigrants and nonimmigrant, the IRS makes the distinction between resident and nonresident aliens. The IRS has its own way of calculating who is considered a resident versus a nonresident alien, and it has the most implications for those who are on nonimmigrant visas for extended periods of time or for those who derive income from both foreign and domestic sources.

Furthermore, a resident alien (i.e. most if not all green card holders) is taxed at a graduated or scaled rate on all income from both domestic and international sources just like a United States citizen. A nonresident alien, however, is taxed on certain types of income that has United States sources. Furthermore, nonresident aliens may be taxed at a flat rate on “passive” income with United States sources or at a scaled rate if the income is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business.

And always, special rules may apply for certain types of occupations, such as teachers, medical professionals, athletes, and employees of foreign governments and international agencies.

If you have questions about your income, employment authorization, or other tax issues and how they may be affected by your immigration status, contact our office so that we may help with your issues.

Tags: #h1-b, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #j-1, #Tax implications

The Startup Act of 3.0 – a Path to Citizenship for Entrepreneurial Immigrants

In the midst of all of the CIR, yet another piece of legislation has entered the fray. The Startup Act of 3.0 is finally getting some traction in Congress, with its recent introduction in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Introduced by a group of legislators led by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the Act would allow for 75,000 individuals who are already in the United States on either H-1B visas or F-1 student visas to gain a path to citizenship. To do this, they would have to invest at least $100,000 and start a business that employs at least two full-time employees. The entrepreneurs would have then three more years to get to at least five employees and then receive permanent legal permanent residence (a “green card”).

“The Kauffman Foundation shows data that nearly all net new jobs created over the last 3 decades – nearly 40 million jobs – were created by these high-growth entrepreneurial businesses,” Senator Moran says. “In fact, 40% of Fortune 500 companies were started by first- or second-generation immigrants. The businesses high-skilled immigrants create are the source of jobs for Americans, the source of innovation and economic growth.”

The Act also benefits STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Masters and PhD students who are on visas to conditionally receive a green card if they remain in their fields for at least five years. Afterwards, they could get permanent green card status.

This bill has been introduced twice before, once in 2010 and once in 2011. With the recent buzz about CIR this year, hopefully this Act will do better than its two predecessors.

A path to citizenship for entrepreneurs already exists through the EB-5 category. However, the investment threshold can be prohibitive for most start-ups. Most H1-B and F-1 student visa holders do not have the $1,000,000 or $500,000 needed to immediately invest and gain green cards through the EB-5 program, especially when typically it only takes $20,000 to $30,000 to build a high tech business. Furthermore, there must be at least 10 jobs created for each EB-5 investment.

Our office is enthusiastic about the Startup Act 3.0. H1-B and F-1 visa holders contribute enormously to the American economy, through their minds, technical skills, and entrepreneurial spirit. It is only fair to offer them a chance to stay in the United States and further contribute to our economy while also creating jobs for local communities.

Contact us if you have any questions about this article or about your own immigration situation!

Tags: #CIR, #F-1, #h1-b, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer, #STEM




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